Core to our work at the Health Foundation is designing funding programmes that enable meaningful learning and change within health care.
As an organisation, we see great potential in involving those working in the system to help identify priorities for funding and strengthen proposals by providing feedback to each other on how to have greatest impact. For Q, there is an opportunity to fuel collaboration within the community by making funding available to members and their teams.
This year, we have taken a bold step and are testing a new way to deliver impact. We are launching a £450,000 participatory funding programme exclusively open to the Q community, which empowers Q members to put forward ideas and then – as a community – decide on which projects receive up to £30,000 of funding. I’m lucky enough to be working with members to design and deliver the programme. This blog shares more about the idea, what has inspired it and how it’s being developed.
In April 2018 we will be launching Q Exchange as a pilot programme. Members will be able to bid for up to £30,000 for projects that have potential to send ripples (maybe one day, even waves!) across the health and care system. Ideas will be posted onto our online platform and other members will be invited to draw on their expertise and knowledge, and comment on these projects to strengthen them. Shortlisted projects will then be voted on by members at the UK Community Event on 19 September, with winners announced live on the day.
Why did we decide on this approach?
The concept for Q Exchange incorporates elements from impactful initiatives elsewhere that have harnessed collective wisdom and empowered communities to make decisions about what matters to them. One example is Participatory Budgeting, a process of democratic deliberation and decision-making, in which local citizens decide how to allocate part of a municipal or public budget.
Similar schemes are already being explored in healthcare; in 2015 Tyneside CCG held sessions designed to enable the public to influence spending decisions on access to urgent care services, whilst North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership (jointly with the Scottish Government) made £50,000 available to tackle poor mental health.
From the idea of shared gifting to Nesta’s Challenge Prizes, other funders are also changing the relationship they have with the communities they support. The Q team are linking up with grant makers and innovation experts across different sectors to bring back ideas that will help us develop and iterate our pilot.
How have we developed these ideas for Q?
The Q team have been working on the concept of Q Exchange for almost a year. Initially called Q Marketplace, the idea has grown and developed through a process of co-design with Q members. Through this process we have developed a view of core benefits:
The design process has involved sketching and developing the ideas over many iterations.
Early illustrations of how the Q Exchange could work / How the Q Exchange might work
Our initial plans were then developed further at a prototyping workshop held in November last year; attendees included Q partners, Q members, those involved specifically with the Q Lab, plus experts in innovation, participatory grant making and design. It was a packed day where we covered many aspects of the experience including: Which theme(s) should we have? What sort of projects would be eligible? How might we inspire those without project ideas to get online to offer support? What type of voting system should we have?
Q members at the Prototyping Workshop
Later in the year attendees at the Q Community Event in Liverpool had a chance to share their views on the overall proposals for the Q Exchange, what they believed to be the potential benefits and risks, and specific preferences on how the live event element should be run.
Prompts shared at the November 2017 Q Community Event & quotes from participants
“This will offer the opportunity to encourage a local team to pitch as well as learn what is ‘expected’ in terms of a successful bid. It offers insights into ideas & innovations” Session Participant
“I can live with the competitive element of this as it is in the name of learning and quality improvement” Session Participant
The engagement so far has been very valuable in shaping this initiative. It has enabled the Q team to: make important decisions about the programme structure (eg having Peer Support as our main theme, plus an Open Pot); made us reflect on how we ensure the Q Exchange is fully embedded within the wider Q offer (eg by making it part of Q’s UK Community Event) and highlighted areas where members had concerns (eg how do we gain due consideration for ideas which may be important but less emotive?)
There is still more to be done in terms of finalising the overall design and in promoting the opportunity, and we’re still getting feedback on each bit of paperwork we’re drafting, but we’re getting close to being ready for launch day!
Whether you have an idea or want to support in other ways, there are things you can do before the launch in April 2018.